Longtime absent, should I reset?

Hi! I used Wanikani from 2016-2018, and since then I haven’t touched it for a few years, I stopped studying Japanese in general after studying for 3 years. (depression, big life changes, etc) You guys probably get this question a lot.

Recently I’ve been really wanting to pick it up again, I miss studying Japanese, and I feel like I’ve forgotten so much. My dad started studying Japanese because his work provided some free lessons, and he’s gotten very into it, and requested a bunch of resources for Christmas. I recently recommended wanikani and he said he’s finding it really useful. Having someone I talk to a lot who’s studying now has in part triggered my pining, I lost contact with my previous study buddies, plus my workplace are offering Portuguese lessons, which are interesting but I miss Japanese a lot! I reset from level 23 to level 20 after I tried and failed horribly on reviews, but I have so many burned things (2300ish) and I feel like I can’t really remember them anymore. I’m wondering if I should reset right back to the beginning? I’m hesitant since it feels like I’ll lose all my progress. I reset kaniwani since I’d only done the first few levels, I only discovered it later in my usage of wanikani, and I remember some things straight away, other things come back to me after I see what the right answer is the first time, and other things I can’t really remember.
With wanikani it feels like I’m getting almost everything wrong in some way when I’m doing my reviews. Sometimes I remember a reading, or almost remember one, or get close on the meaning (only very rarely correct first time). I have about 730 reviews to do after resetting 3 levels, down from 1400ish. I have the reviews reordered so older levels are first, and I’ve been working on the 30ish earliest ones so far, largely getting things wrong. I haven’t really picked up minna no nihongo again yet, do you think that if I start reviewing book 1 & 2 again it’ll jog my memory more?

Provided I do reviews daily, do you think I could get back to level 20 faster than it took me originally if I reset? Since hopefully the remnants of my memories will help things stick better.




I feel like when I looked at past posts by others there was a lot of people advising against resetting, which made me more hesitant. Thank you!

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Maybe you could add the burned items into KaniWani then you don’t have to reset too far back. That way you can continue from level 20 (or wherever you are) without taking such a huge step back whilst reviewing previously burnt items.

Or you could use the review script to test yourself on your burnt items and if you don’t remember it then resurrect it. Do a small batch every day or every other day so you don’t get overwhelmed with reviews!


I had a similar situation; started in 2017, reset to level 1 this January. At first I regret my decision, but then found several benefits in doing so. The biggest one is that knowing most of the Pleasant stuff gives an easy dopamine fix. Less obvious one is that WK did a pretty big overhaul of mnemonics since I went on health-related hiatus, was beneficial to re-learn new names of radicals and get familiar with the new mnemonic settings and scenarios.


You already did it, right? And it sounds like you just wanted an excuse. So then, yes, go for it.

Let me just say: I was at level 23 too, and I also did a reset. I did the reset at 2020-07-17 and I got back to the same point at 2021-01-17. I think that was quite fast, also. I wasn’t rushing, but it wasn’t that hard. But also: it’s wasn’t nothing, it was work. Here is the graph:

It just takes some time. Seems like you got lifetime already, so that shouldn’t be a thing. But it does take effort, it’s quite a lot of work still. I think the faster way is to go through those reviews you got now, but then you would miss out on reinforcing your burned but forgotten items.

I wrote a topic to celebrate getting back to that point. To quote myself from there:

I don’t think I would reset again, but it did teach me a lot about the process, so I do not regret it.

So no advice here for one or the other, just some perspective. If you do reset, I hope you learn a lot too :slight_smile:


The sense I get from reading your post is that your main struggle is feeling like it will take time. (Could I get back to level 20 faster?)
I wanted to highlight that although it might suck to start over and go through the waiting process, it might be highly rewarding to go through it again and focus on learning everything. If you’re having trouble remembering things, and if your reviews are hit and miss, wouldn’t it be worth it to go through it again and make sure you’re retaining what you learn?

I’m very happy your father’s learning journey has re-ignited your own. It looks like you’ve already chosen an answer, but whatever you choose, I’m sure it will be right for you. Happy learning xo


I’ve reset a while ago from lvl 28 also because of a long pause and because I couldn’t recall some lvl 5 burned items.

I have to say the experience of re-learning everything has been great. I feel like I’m rebuilding a strong foundation and setting up a different routine from last time. I used to have a lot of time the first time so I was rushing through things, but now I have a family and way less time for myself so I’m spreading my lessons to a pace that I can sustain and it’s great. I’d do it again. Maybe I’d reset from level 5 now but, honestly, you’re going to get to that point really fast anyway.


I say don’t bother with this, you’re a lifetime member so there’s no reason to worry about speed as you’ll not be losing any money from taking too long.

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The question you have to ask yourself is:

is you real level of Japanese the same as your level here in WK (lower intermediate)?

If not, then my advice would be to reset to a level you are comfortable with. There’s no reason to make WK harder than it already is. So get to a comfortable level, and use the time saved on all those reviews to progress your Japanese in other ares. WK is much easier if your level goes in parallel with your knowledge of the language (e.g. having a good vocabulary helps a lot remembering kanji meaning and sounds), and being level 23 with the grammar/vocabulary knowledge of a beginner is pointless, and will just make you burn out again.


If you look at those posts again, that was for people who only took months off not years or who had also been studying Japanese in the interim.

Level also has a lot to do with it. If you were level 50 then it might be a different answer.

For a complete break like you had, a reset is the best thing. You can start fresh and enjoy the easy ramp up in difficulty for all those items you still remember.


I haven’t actually pulled the trigger yet, I figured I’d wait until tomorrow to make sure that I want to do it for sure. Looking through the replies I think restarting is the right call. My wanikani level matched my general Japanese level before, but not anymore since I’ve gone so long without studying. Starting from the beginning, and restarting my Japanese studies again, sounds like the best shout. I’ll get good revision on the things I do remember, and will hopefully pick things up faster this time, but regardless I’ll get a better foundation than trying to keep going somehow.

Thank you all for your responses, I feel much more comfortable with the decision to restart now. I think I was feeling guilty about the (wrong) perception that by resetting I’d be throwing away progress of some form, which wouldn’t really be the case given my circumstances. (I forgot how nice the community here was, thanks!)


I was in roughly the same boat as you - somewhere in the early 20s for my level, and hadn’t been studying for a few years. The number of reviews was daunting, but what was worse was I had forgotten a lot of the mnemonics that WK uses to build your memory. I went all the way back to the beginning and am glad I did - it’s a bit strange having the memory of old WK mnemonics lingering around, but I feel like it’s much easier to retain things now, having seen more kanji in context than the firs time around.


Mm, that’s something I was noticing, I could remember a few mnemonics, but overall they were gone, which is very unhelpful for remembering the readings etc! Hopefully we can both get back to where we were and beyond this time!

I’m in a somewhat similar position, so allow me to suggest an alternative.

In my case I reached 60 a few years ago and have since gotten fed up with all the WK kanji I really should know but still have to look up, so I thought it was time for another go!

What I’ve been doing, rather than reset is to use the ultimate reorder script, like so:

  • Decide on a number of reviews that I feel like doing (Right now I do two sets of 100, and two sets of 20 each day)
  • In the reorder plugin section of the review screen, you can right click the level numbers to remove all words from that level.
  • I do this starting with 60 and working myself back until I’m at the desired number of reviews!

This way, you’re still starting from the lower levels and slowly working yourself up to your current level, but without having to redo everything.

In addition, since there are quite a lot of burns that I’ve since forgotten, whenever I run into a kanji I don’t know (either in a review, or while reading), I manually unburn it and all its related vocab.


I feel like since you’ve been studying Japanese in the meantime, and are level 60, your approach makes perfect sense in your situation!

I’ve reset already now, and I do think I made the right call for my circumstances, but I’ll remember this for when I get to a high level and inevitably run into your problem! It seems like a good way to keep on top of things and to reclaim the forgotten burned items, thank you for your insight.

Hopefully it also helps anyone who finds this thread who are trying to decide on whether to reset or not.

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Ah, I missed the fact that you’d already reset!

In that case, welcome back on the treadmill and good luck! :muscle: :slight_smile:

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One thing that I too often forget, and that you seem to recognize when you talk about how much you miss Japanese is this: studying Japanese, though frustrating and discouraging at times, is fun!

I don’t know what your situation in life is, and why you need to learn Japanese (or if you even really need to at all), but assuming you don’t have a lot at stake here, just enjoy the process. Doing 700 reviews of things that you haven’t looked at in three years is torture. On the other hand, there is so much to gain by resetting. Also, it may be slower, but it’s likely to have better long-term results in terms of your retention.

Have fun!


I took a whole bunch of time off when I was in the early-30s. Came back to a pile bigger than I care to think about. Reset right back down to level 1. It’s been about 9 months since, and I’m at level 34, which I think is a pretty decent pace, though I wasn’t exactly racing for it. I found I did actually know a lot of the stuff from 1-mid20s,so maybe I could have just reset to that, but doing it right to 1 felt kind of liberating in a weird sense and it gave me a lot of motivation. I’m still going strong on it, and I’m enjoying and dedicating myself to it a lot more this time around.

I had tried to power through my pile of reviews multiple times, but that in itself was demotivating and knowing how many I was getting wrong due to my own slack really made me feel like I didn’t know anything at all, so why am I even trying etc. Needless to say, I feel a lot better about it now.

tl;dr - I recommend it.